Petri Nets Standards

This page is out of date and will be updated in the future. For now please go to,

which is the reference site for the implementation of Petri Net Markup Language (PNML) defined by the standard ISO/IEC 15909 (Part 2).

This page reflects the current activities in the effort of creating a standard for high-level Petri Nets.

The standard is being developed by the Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology (JTC1), of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The technical work is undertaken by a working group of a subcommittee of JTC1 concerned with processes and techniques for software and systems engineering, called SC7, Software and Systems Engineering. The working group that is developing the standard is called WG19 Open Distributed Processing and Modelling Languages. WG19 handles many projects. The Project for Petri net standardisation is 15909 Petri Net Techniques, and has Jonathan Billington as the overall editor. Project 15909 intends to produce a multi-part standard comprising 3 parts.

Part 1, ISO/IEC 15909-1 Software and Systems Engineering - High-level Petri Nets - Concepts, Definitions and Graphical Notation, defines an abstract syntax (using many sorted algebraic specification techniques) for the graphical form of high-level nets, and provides it with a Coloured Petri Net semantics. This work is currently under ballot within ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 as a Final Committee Draft, with a due date of 14 April 2003 for ISO/IEC. The due date for the National Standards Bodies (such as AFNOR, BSI, DIN etc) will be up to a month earlier (i.e. 14 March 2003). Those interested in commenting on the standard will need to do so via their National Standards Body before the due date.

Part 2 is proposed to cover a Transfer Format for Petri nets, probably based on XML. The purpose of this part is to allow Petri net tools to exchange Petri net models and their analysis results. Current work, co-ordinated by Ekkart Kindler, is the development of a Petri net Markup Language (PNML) using XML. It is intended to publish a paper on this work for the next Petri Net Conference in Eindhoven, June 2003.

Part 3 concerns extensions to Part 1, including modularity constructs, such as hierarchies in Coloured Petri nets, and time extensions ( e.g. Time and Stochastic Petri Nets).

Table of Contents


Quick overview of the standards group hierarchy and terminology.
Stages of the development of International Standards
Visit this page if you want to learn about the standardisation process in general.
ISO/IEC directives
Procedures in general for the technical work of ISO/IEC JTC 1 on Information Technology.
An introduction to ISO.

JTC1/SC7 Resources

Working Group Documents

Documents produced by all the working groups in JTC1/SC7 (Software Engineering) are listed online. Among others, there are documents from WG11 (where the Petri Net work is being undertaken). Although the documents are listed online, most are only accessible to people in the JTC1/SC7 work-groups, because they are password protected.

High-level Petri Net Standard

Committee Draft
October 2, 1997, version 3.4
- Get the PDF file from the Australian server
- Get the PDF file from the Danish server (mirror)
* Dec 13, 2002: Combined WD circulation, CD Registration and FCD ballot, WD15909 - Software Engineering - High Level Petri Net. The ballot closes April 13, 2003.
* Jun 26, 2002: New Proposal for a Standard on Petri Net Techniques
* Jan 28, 1998: Letter Ballot Summary of CD15909 Information Technology - High Level Petri Net Standard
Reply to Comments on Drafts
Aug 14, 1997, version 2.1

Subdivision Proposal
Proposal for the Subdivision of Project 7.19 for a Petri Net Standard. Contribution to ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7/WG11 SEDDR.

How You Can Help

In case you seriously consider to influence the standardisation of Petri Nets
  1. Contact your national standardisation body (ISO affiliated) and tell them that you are seriously planning to participate in the Petri Nets standardisation (project 07.19.3) from now on.
  2. Keep your promise to participate in the Petri Nets standardisation. If Petri Nets experts intervene on behalf of the Petri Nets standardisation but remain passive in the technical work, then we lose our credibility in the standardisation bodies - we will hardly get another chance.
  3. Develop patience. Get to know the rules of the game.

Calendar of Events

3Q 1995 Subdivision proposal ballot
Oct. 21-25, 1996Ottawa, CanadaDraft 1.1 discussed. Agreed to update from discussion and circulate to SC7 members in first quarter 1997.
June 9-13, 1997San Francisco, USADiscuss comments on circulated WD and decided whether suitable to progress to Committee Draft (CD) for Ballot.
Oct/Nov 3-7, 1997London, UKDiscuss early comments on CD, plan subdivision of 7.19.3.
June 1998Johannesburg, South AfricaDecision on Progressing to FCD.
October 1998Kumomoto, JapanFCD passed the ballot
May 1999Curitiba, BrazilResolution of comments (with SC7).
June 2002 Ballot: New Proposal for a Standard on Petri Net Techniques
December 2002 Combined WD circulation, CD Registration and FCD ballot, WD15909 - Software Engineering - High Level Petri Net. The ballot closes April 13, 2003.

Standardisation Schedule
12002-92002-9 2002-92003-12003-7

Selected Postings from the PetriNets Mailing List

Browse the mailing list archive for postings on the standardisation activities. (Look under standards in the section Browse by selected topics.)

Visit the PetriNets mailing list Web page if you are interested in joining the forum.

Activities on Transfer Formats

The purpose of a (textual) transfer format (also known as an interchange format) is to facilitate the exchange of Petri Nets models between different tools.
High-level Petri Nets - Transfer Format (November 8, 2004, draft version 0.5.0)
Posting on PetriNets mailing list

The Petri Net Interchange Format Mailing List
The purpose of this mailing list is to put forward the standardisation of a transfer format for Petri nets.

Meeting on XML/SGML based Interchange Formats for Petri Nets
June 27 at the Petri Nets 2000 Conference. At this meeting J. Billington presented the status of the ISO standardisation work.

XML and Petri Nets
From the OASIS XML Cover Pages.

Useful Web Addresses

Home-page of the International Organization for Standardisation. Very comprehensive site - absolutely worth visiting.
Home-page of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
Contains some documents and news on the standard.

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